I've been wordy lately. Even for me. (and that's saying something...) I view a lot of life in terms of metaphors. I often think they speak better than all of my wordiness can. For instance, we've all heard the metaphor of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. That one has been out there for awhile, and yet it perfectly describes my current experience of life.
As a child, I was your typical caterpillar. Exploring my world, but not able to wander too far because after all, for all the legs a caterpillar has, they are short legs and not capable of running too far, too fast. As a young adult, I committed myself to the cocoon. I was probably 18 or 19. And I was learning about who I was, and how I fit into the world. I was exploring my religious, political and philsophical beliefs about the world, God and me. Those college years were tumultuous, but ultimately they provided a space for me to crawl into the cocoon to prepare to fly.
Once I was in that place, I had a hard time leaving it. While it was dimly lit and cramped at times, it was familiar and not too scary. So I stayed. Long past the time I needed to be ready to fly. But I was fearful. Out of fear, I made a lot of decisions. I married for somes sense of security in life. I lost who I was by becoming who I thought I was supposed to be. I worked in a dysfunctional and chaotic environment for many years simply because my that's what i was "supposed" to do. I couldn't get out of the cocoon, but if you asked me, I'm sure I would've said I was free, free to do what I wanted and how I wanted. In reality, I felt trapped, misunderstood and confused.
As life goes, things don't remain the same for too, too long. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, I spied a glimmer of light. As if the cocoon had cracked just enough to allow a sliver of light through the darkness. In the beginning the light was so overwhelming and bright, that I hid my face. I didn't know what I was seeing, and I was frightened. Eventually though, that big, bright world beckoned. And I couldn't resist. I wanted to see what was out there.
So, I entered into a journey of becoming. It hurt at first. I felt exposed, vulnerable and very alone. But with every step in the journey, the One who is Love, provided me with bits and pieces of who I was to become. Communities of faith, people who cared about where I was headed, and the knowledge that somehow, some way I would figure this all out. The journey was not to a place but to the center of who I am, who I was made to be.
I've finally allowed the cocoon to fall away. The work begun in me so many years ago is now beginning to make manifest in a new and wonderfilled way. There are moments when I see the old shell of the cocoon hanging from the tree, and I crave it's sameness, its security. But then I look again and see the brilliant colors of these wings, and I know that I was not meant to stay in that drab, gray place forever. Finally, it's time to fly.